When Barbadian singer Rihanna was named creative director of Puma in December 2014, overseeing the direction of the womenswear line, everybody felt entitled to place such great expectations on this collaboration. In fact, in the past few years, Puma suffered a net loss of 4.6 million euro, revealing that the brand really needed to spend some time trying to rejuvenate itself.
That’s why, among other personalities such as Usain Bolt and Mario Balotelli, Puma decided to find a new muse, someone its female customers will always look forward to – Rihanna, who came to inject her personal and fashionable R&B touch into the brand’s aesthetics. Puma’s big hopes were last year revealed in an official statement, which now proves its headquarters definitely were farsighted.
“Rihanna will work with Puma to design and customise classic Puma styles as well as create new styles to add to the Puma product portfolio […] Signing Rihanna is a fantastic step for Puma. Her global profile, her charisma and individuality, her ambition – all these things make her a perfect ambassador for our brand. With a strong portfolio in football, running and motorsport, finding an inspiring partner for women’s training was very important. Rihanna was a natural choice for us. We’re delighted to have her as a partner, and we’re looking forward to what’s to come.”
2015 started out well for Puma. The brand not only benefited from events such as the Africa Cup, but also (and especially) from Rihanna’s collaboration, whose influence will keep on increasing Puma’s profits through the upcoming year as well. In fact, despite the company’s overall slumping sales, Rihanna’s suede creeper sneaker, released earlier this year, was in such a big demand that it went sold out within just a few hours.
And it was just a hint about how the Rihanna x Puma collaboration was going to progress! A larger footwear and apparel collection is set to get launched next year, and most of RiRi’s fans are already champing at the bit to see it.
“The launch of the first Puma by Rihanna shoe, the Creeper, has been extremely successful and most retailers have sold out within hours or days. We have generally seen a very positive development in our women’s business and we will put even more focus on the female consumer moving forward.” Puma’s chief executive officer, Bjorn Gulden, recently told WWD.
Such a great success is probably also due to this year’s trends, which include a lot of fun for those who religiously follow the new sporty-chic athleisure movement. With no signs of slowing down, the athleisure trend targets those, who love to wear their fancy athletic workout clothes outside of the gym, like, for example, to go to the office or casual parties. It is a trend basically made for Rihanna, whose everyday looks often feature yoga pants and fashionable sweats.
With Rihanna as a creative director, Puma is not the only sportswear brand that opted to take a celebrity on board. Its German rival Adidas recently collaborated with Pharrell Williams and Kanye West, launching limited edition collections that went sold out in the blink of an eye. Does the sportswear’s future include more and more collaboration with our beloved celebrities? According to the latest collaborations, it seems so.
Photo courtesy of Zimbio